Can A.I. and AR Turn Your Prospects Into Customers?
Friday, May 4, 2018
Posted by: Alyce Ryan
Originally published on: Inc.com
Written by: Anita Campbell
From streamlining marketing to improving customer service and building sales, the intelligent offerings of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) technology are helping businesses engage with customers, follow up on leads, and maximize marketing opportunities.
Take a look at three ways the most forward-thinking businesses in a broad range of industries are using AI and AR technologies to turn prospects into customers.
1. Enhance the retail experience with AR.
Tech-savvy retailers and e-commerce e-tailers are incorporating augmented reality technology to enhance the customer experience. Given that 61% of consumers prefer stores which provide AR experiences, integrating AR technology is an effective way to improve customer experiences with your brand and turn prospects into customers.
One example of a retailer effectively using AR to win over customers is Lacoste. The fashion brand created the LCST Lacoste AR mobile app, which enables customers to try shoes on virtually.
The app also generated AR experiences with promotional postcards, in-store signage, and window displays. By essentially putting the "shopping experience in the customers' hands,"Lacoste's AR marketing efforts resulted in more than 30,000 users engaging with 3D products while using the AR app.
2. Identify and follow up on leads through AI.
AI technology can be used by businesses as an ultra-reliable sales assistant. An AI-enhanced assistant can collect and analyze data about the lead, and it can remind you when to follow up on leads and ensures no vital stones are left unturned. Even better, AI can help you focus on the leads that are more likely to turn into sales and prompt you when you should take specific actions.
One example is Zia, the Zoho Intelligent Assistant built into the Zoho CRM application. Zia can predict which leads are more likely to close, so you can prioritize your sales rep time and better forecast sales.
Zia can analyze sentiment in existing customer emails. If a customer seems angry or unhappy, the sales rep may realize that some work has to be done to satisfy the client before pushing to pitch a renewal. The "assistant" can even alert you to the best time of day to contact a prospect.
Zia also claims to be able to identify anomalies in your sales trends and give a heads up so that you can take action if sales momentum is, say, slowing down. Irregularities are identified by artificial intelligence and brought to the forefront through alerts.
The smartest of businesses are investing in AI-powered applications to give sales prospecting efforts a cost-effective boost.
3. Improve marketing campaigns with augmented reality.
AR can enable businesses to deliver marketing strategies in real time. This means customers can experience your products or services as they are meant to be. In the retail sector, savvy brands are using AR as a powerful form of marketing. Timberland, for example, invested in Lemon and Orange's virtual fitting room technology, to allow customers to 'try before they buy' remotely.
However, you needn't have a big budget for a marketing campaign. Try a simple version of augmented reality in the form of Instagram's hashtag sticker feature. With it, you can create a unique branded hashtag to promote a product or a new book, for example. Use your hashtag on your images, and highlight customers who add your hashtag sticker to their Instagram images.
Or customize a Snapchat filter for your product or company, and promote it for a few hundred dollars in your local area. While a simple idea, it makes your business seem trendy and can engage customers and prospects on the Snapchat platform.
Start small with these uses of AI and AR. Then, as you master these kinds of techniques, expand into more sophisticated uses. Before you know it, you'll be a pro.